One of the biggest domain name stories of the last week involves the Walmart.Horse domain name and landing page. The short version of the story is that a person registered the Walmart.Horse domain name, and a company representing Walmart sent a cease and desist letter to the owner. The owner responded to the C&D, and here we are.
There has been quite a bit of press coverage of this story, and I think the buzz is good for the registry operator, Minds+Machines. Some of the news outlets that published articles about Walmart.Horse include:
- Ars Techica
- The Consumerist
- New York Daily News
- Business Insider
- Toronto Star
I don’t think Minds + Machines could buy this type of coverage. For one, it could be used as a warning to brands that they need to secure their brand new gTLD extensions or someone else could buy them. Secondly, I am sure there are many people who read these articles that don’t know that there is a .Horse extension, and that awareness can’t be bad.
I am sure some people will look at the negative side and use this as an example of abusive new gTLD registrations. Personally, I found this to be quite amusing, and I am surprised that Walmart didn’t secure the domain name before the current owner bought it.
I reached out to Antony Van Couvering, CEO of Minds + Machines, and here is what he had to say about Walmart.Horse:
“Domain names can be used for a lot of things, including satire and parody. It’s a big wide world out there, and the use of domain names reflects that. For brand owners, there are always two questions when it comes to domain registration: Do you want to use the name? Do you care if anyone else does? In Walmart’s case it appears that the answer to the first question was no, but for the second it was yes — but they may only now be discovering that. As for satirists, domain names containing a company’s name are always tempting because it captures the company’s attention and often provokes a publicity-inspiring response.”
It looks like .Horse saw a bit of a bump in registrations over the last few days, according to nTLDStats.com. As of this afternoon, nTLDStats.com is reporting 1,489 .Horse registrations.